This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tyson Olympics: Plant Invaders

The Invasive Plants Team incorporated their study of herbivory into their Olympic event. Each team received a data sheet and map that they would have to follow through a series of plots. At the final plot, teams were required to find a thread tied around a sample plant within a plot, the color of which corresponded to a percent herbivory. One member of the team then inflicted herbivory on (i.e. ate) a leaf-shaped cookie, and the Invasive Plants Team used software to determine how close each team came to their percent herbivory. That has to be the most delicious use of software I've ever heard of.

Tyson teams search a plot for colored threads, which the Invasive Plants Team uses to mark their plants. In the background, Glade Team technician Chris walks majestically by in flower garb.

The Forest Team prepares to inflict herbivory on their leaf cookie.

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